NACHC Policy and Issues Forum underscores commitment of FQHCs and Primary Care Associations

Loren Anthes, Head of External Affairs

In the heart of Washington, D.C., the National Association of Community Health Center's Policy and Issues Forum (NACHC's P&I Forum) recently brought together a diverse array of health center leaders from across the nation. Among them stood representatives from Yuvo Health, a proud member of NACHC, as keen witnesses to the tireless work of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Primary Care Associations (PCAs) who serve as the bedrock of healthcare access for millions.

During our time, we were struck by the unwavering commitment of FQHCs and PCAs to their communities. Their stories of resilience and advocacy resonated deeply, further informing and shaping our model for partnership. What many people don’t realize, beyond the activity and energy of the Forum, lies a rich history—the legacy of the Community Health Center movement.

Born out of the Civil Rights era, this movement was propelled by the tireless efforts of advocates like H. Jack Geiger, who recognized the transformative potential of community-based healthcare. Inspired by models observed abroad, pioneers like Dr. Geiger seized upon the opportunity presented by President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty initiatives to establish the first Neighborhood Health Centers in medically underserved areas. These centers, guided by consumer-majority governing boards, not only provided vital healthcare services but also empowered communities to direct their own health destinies. They stood as beacons of hope in regions plagued by poverty, demonstrating the compounding benefits of accessible and affordable healthcare.

Continuous beacons of hope

Today, there are more than 1,400 community health centers (CHCs) in the United States providing care for over 30 million people — most of whom are on Medicaid or are underinsured or uninsured.

The Latin root of our name, "Yuvo," means "help," and serves as a poignant reminder of our mission to support and uplift communities in need. It resonates across languages and cultures, reflecting the diversity of our staff as well as the patients served and the communities represented at the P&I Forum. As we engaged with stakeholders and policymakers, this history of consumer-majority governance and commitment to service by FQHCs underscored a central principle in our work:

To ensure FQHCs and PCAs can provide compassionate care to their entire community, empowering them to lead the charge for equitable healthcare access for the people they represent.

At Yuvo Health, we recognize the critical importance of centering FQHCs and PCAs in everything we do, understanding they are the driving force behind healthcare justice for so many marginalized communities.

So, as we reflect on our experience at NACHC’s Policy and Issues Forum, we are reminded of the profound impact of community-driven healthcare and the importance of collaborative partnerships. Together, we remain steadfast in our commitment to building a healthier, more equitable future for all.

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